It was another rough week for the KC Royals, as they continue to get good pitching but zero offense (7-11 overall). They won just one game last week, as they were swept in their four-game series against Texas. The Royals now head to Chicago to play the White Sox beginning tonight.
In roster news, the Royals sent struggling players Raul Mondesi and Paulo Orlando to Triple-A Omaha (Orlando has already played two games with the Storm Chasers, while Mondesi has yet to be activated). They called up lefty reliever Matt Strahm and outfielder Jorge Bonifacio for the very first time. Bonifacio has gone 2-for-7 in two games and hit his first big league home run on Sunday. Utility man Whit Merrifield was also called up on Tuesday and has gone 5-for-19 in six games.
Triple-A Omaha went 5-2 last week and moved into second place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division (10-7 overall). The Storm Chasers have two more games left in New Orleans before an off day and a trip back to Omaha.
Outfielder Jorge Soler began his rehab assignment on Friday and has gone 3-for-10 with a three-run home run in three games. The Storm Chasers received Jake Junis back from his brief stint in the big leagues (one appearance) and he made the start on Wednesday (5IP, 5H, 2R, 0BB, 6K).
Double-A NW Arkansas went 5-1 last week and are currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak. The Naturals are now 8-8 and moved into a second place tie in the Texas League North Division. They welcome first place Springfield to town for four games beginning tonight.
High-A Wilmington went 2-5 last week and are in last place in the Carolina League Northern Division (7-10). The Blue Rocks are spending today’s off day on a bus to Myrtle Beach, as they play the Pelicans (and then Buies Creek) over the next week.
In roster news, Colton Frabasilio was placed on the DL and Jonathan McCray was sent to rookie ball. The Blue Rocks received infielder Jecksson Flores and outfielder Cody Jones, who picked up his first hit of the season in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Flores picked up his first two hits of the season in Game 2.
Low-A Lexington went 4-3 last week and is coming off its first series victory of the season. The Legends moved out of last place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division (7-11) and begin a seven-game homestand tonight.
Now to the awards…
Royals Hitter of the Week: While Lorenzo Cain continues to be the only bright spot in the Royals struggling offense (6-for-20 last week with two doubles), backup catcher Drew Butera saw a little more action due to a Salvador Perez stiff neck. Butera went 3-for-9 (.333) in four games with a double and a run scored.
Royals Pitcher of the Week: The Royals bullpen yet again was solid. Kelvin Herrera earned the save in the Royals only victory (2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K). Joakim Soria allowed three hits and a walk while striking out three in three scoreless innings (three games). Lefty Mike Minor allowed two hits and a walk over four scoreless innings with four strikeouts (two games). Peter Moylan allowed two hits over 1.2 scoreless innings (four games). Moylan and Soria have yet to allow a run this season.
Minor League Hitters of the Week: The Royals minor league system had quite a few positive offensive performers last week. First baseman/DH Ryan O’Hearn went 11-for-26 (.423) for Omaha with two doubles, three home runs, three runs scored, and seven RBIs. Plus, he only struck out twice. O’Hearn is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak. Fellow first baseman/DH Frank Schwindel went 10-for-23 (.435) for NW Arkansas with three doubles, four runs scored, and four RBIs. He also only struck out twice and is fourth in the TL in hitting at .350. Schwindel is also in the midst of a six-game hitting streak.
Blue Rocks outfielder Elier Hernandez went 10-for-24 (.417) last week with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. He scored three runs and drove in six (including five in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader). Hernandez had his four-game multi-hit streak snapped in Game 2 on Sunday when he struck out as a pinch-hitter. Lexington first baseman Chris DeVito is in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak, as he went 11-for-27 (.407) last week. He hit two doubles, three homers, scored five runs, and drove in nine. DeVito has just three games this season where he has not collected a hit.
Minor League Pitchers of the Week: Legends starter Gerson Garabito made two starts last week and went 1-1. Over 12 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits (two were homers). He walked two and struck out 11.
The piggy-back combination in Lexington of Jace Vines and Garrett Davila was really good last week. They both picked up a victory in their start. Vines allowed four hits, a walk, and hit a batter in nine innings. He struck out six. Davila also pitched nine innings, but allowed three runs on five hits (a homer) and five walks. He struck out seven.
Honorable Mention: Zach Lovvorn now has as many wins in Double-A as he earned all of last year (two). In two starts with NWA, he allowed three runs on 12 hits and two walks over 11.2 innings. He struck out four. AJ Puckett earned the victory on Thursday night for the Blue Rocks, going a career-high seven innings and striking out a career-high eight.
Minor League Reliever of the Week: Legends reliever Grant Gavin allowed a hit and a walk over four innings last week. He struck out five. Gavin has allowed just one run this season in five appearances (ten innings).